Music from Big Pink

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Music from Big Pink
Studio album by The Band
Released July 1, 1968
Recorded Early 1968
Genre Roots rock, Americana, folk rock, blues rock
Length 42:22
Label Capitol
Producer John Simon
The Band chronology
Music from Big Pink
The Band
Singles from Music from Big Pink
  1. "The Weight/I Shall Be Released"
    Released: January 1968
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
L.A. Times (favorable)[2]
MusicHound 5/5[3]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[5]

Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in "Big Pink", a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968,[6] and followed the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.


The initial critical reception to the album was positive,[1][2][7] though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone[4] helped to draw public attention to it (even though Rolling Stone referred to them as "the band from Big Pink"[8] instead of just "the Band"). The fact that Bob Dylan wrote one and co-wrote two of the songs on the album also attracted attention.

In 1968, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). "The Weight" gained widespread popularity, from the Band's performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack because of licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[9] The laid-back feel of the album attracted the attention of other major artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album's roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos and his debut album. George Harrison was also impressed by the album's musicianship and sense of camaraderie, and Roger Waters called it the second "most influential record in the history of rock and roll", after Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and said that it "affected Pink Floyd deeply, deeply, deeply."[10]

The original LP record issue included a gatefold cover in 1968, duplicated 40 years later in 2008 as a remastered 180 gm LP. On compact disc, it was remastered as a gold CD in 1989, as a DVD-audio in 2001 and as a remastered numbered edition SACD in 2009. On August 29, 2000, it was reissued by EMI Records as a standard compact disc with nine bonus tracks as listed below. In 2012, Mobile Fidelity released a remastered, numbered, limited edition, Half-speed_Mastering from the original master tapes, 180g LP pressed at RTI.

Big Pink house[edit]

"Big Pink" in 2006

"Big Pink" is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko found it as a rental. Danko moved in along with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in February of 1967, and it was in the basement of this house that Bob Dylan would join its residents and Robbie Robertson to write and record what came to be known as The Basement Tapes. The house became known locally as "Big Pink' for its pink siding. The house was sold by Gramms in 1977 to M. Amitin, who rented the house to Parnassus Records, a label specializing in classical music, which used the basement as its headquarters. In 1998, Amitin sold the house to Don and Sue LaSala, who maintain it as a private residence and keep the creative tradition alive by creating music in the basement with friends from the Woodstock area and beyond.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocal Length
1. "Tears of Rage"   Bob Dylan, Richard Manuel Manuel 5:23
2. "To Kingdom Come"   Robbie Robertson Manuel, Robertson 3:22
3. "In a Station"   Manuel Manuel 3:34
4. "Caledonia Mission"   Robertson Rick Danko 2:59
5. "The Weight"   Robertson Levon Helm, Danko 4:34

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocal Length
6. "We Can Talk"   Manuel Manuel, Helm, Danko 3:06
7. "Long Black Veil"   Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill Danko 3:06
8. "Chest Fever"   Robertson Manuel 5:18
9. "Lonesome Suzie"   Manuel Manuel 4:04
10. "This Wheel's on Fire"   Dylan, Danko Danko 3:14
11. "I Shall Be Released"   Dylan Manuel 3:19

Bonus Track listing from 2000 re-release[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocal Length
12. "Yazoo Street Scandal"   Robertson Helm 4:01
13. "Tears of Rage"   Dylan, Manuel Manuel (Alternate take) 5:32
14. "Katie's Been Gone"   Manuel, Robertson Manuel 2:46
15. "If I Lose"   Charlie Poole Helm 2:29
16. "Long Distance Operator"   Dylan Manuel 3:58
17. "Lonesome Suzie"   Manuel Manuel (Alternate take) 3:00
18. "Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast)"   Manuel Manuel 3:40
19. "Key to the Highway"   Big Bill Broonzy Helm 2:28
20. "Ferdinand the Imposter"   Robertson Danko 3:59


Additional personnel


Album - Billboard (US)

Year Chart Position
1968 Pop Albums 30
2000 Top Internet Albums 8

Singles - Billboard (US)

Year Single Chart Position
1968 "The Weight" Pop Singles 63

The Weight peaked at #35 in Canada and #21 in the UK.[11]


  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. Music From Big Pink at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Pete (1968-07-14). "Band Album Mines Dylan Vein". Los Angeles Times: Archives. Archived from the original on ?. Retrieved 2014-03-07.  Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
  3. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  4. ^ a b Kooper, Al (10 August 1968). "Records". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Bowman, Rob. "History of The Band: The Debut Album". Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  7. ^ Viney, Peter. "The Band: Album Ratings". The Band website. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Big Pink Band To Tour U.S.". Rolling Stone (30). April 5, 1969. p. 9. 
  9. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  10. ^ "Roger Waters quote re "Music from Big Pink" - Progressive Rock Music Forum". Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  11. ^ The Weight

External links[edit]